The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are teaming with Mexico and Canada to stop deceptive advertising and product sales of purported diabetes cures and treatments.
The first wave of the campaign began with approximately 180 warning letters sent to Internet advertisers and vendors in the three countries.
According to the FTC, about a fourth of the firms have already changed their claims or removed their Web pages from the Internet while several others are in contact with FTC about their procedures.
“We will not tolerate practices that raise false hopes and bilk consumers of precious health care dollars,” Margaret Glavin, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement. “Diabetes requires effective treatments and aggressive management, not bogus and unproven products.”
The joint initiative to stop commercial sale of fraudulent therapies began with a Web surf for “hidden traps” by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), an organization of law enforcement authorities.
Using the results of the Internet sweep, the FTC sent warning letters for deceptive ads to 84 domestic and 7 Canadian Web sites targeting U.S. consumers. The agency also referred an additional 21 sites to other foreign governments.
“We will continue working with our partners in the U.S. and internationally to make sure scammers have no place to hide,” Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
“The Internet can be a great source of information, but it also is a billboard for ads that promise miracle cures for diabetes and other serious diseases.”
The FDA letters warn firms that failure to promptly correct violations may result in enforcement action without further notice, which may include seizure of products and injunctions against the manufacturers and distributors.
Over the last year, the FDA has sent more than 100 warning letters and other advisories to Internet firms and has seized products at one firm.